Tuesday, 22 January 2019

Tea Lover's Advent Calendar - Fortnum and Mason

I have a tea notebook, which I fill up with comments, but then I forget to post them on the blog! My aim in 2019 is to do much better!

I was bought a Fortnum & Mason tea advent calendar in 2017. I was thrilled and made notes each day about what I found hiding behind each door. I thought there was no point in doing a write-up 12 months later, but that was before I looked at the 2018 advent calendar and it was exactly the same packaging as last years “sold out” version.


I didn’t bother with the 2018 calendar – not only did it cost £25 for 24 tea bags, but whilst the 2017 calendar was a beautiful gift, I was a bit disappointed with the contents considering the price.

https://www.fortnumandmason.com/products/christmas-tea-lovers-advent-calendar-59g-2017

For a start a Tea Lover's Calendar should just contain tea, not a few tea bags and a number of herbal infusions. It should also contain 24 different teas, not various repeats. There are hundreds of teas out there, and this is not a cheap product, so I was hoping to find a few hidden gems I could purchase a caddy of when visiting F&M next time I was in London.


Let us take a trip behind each door and see what lay waiting for me on the countdown to Christmas 2017:
  1. Rose Pouchong – a large leafed Keemun Mao Feng tea, scented with rose petals. The Tea was redolent of Turkish Delight, or rosewater depending upon how romantic your sensibilities are. It's a new favourite for me to add to my list.
  2. Assam TGFOP – leaf tips of Assam tea bush – a full bodied and robust tea, perfect for that breakfast brew.
  3. Rhubarb & Raspberry INFUSION!
  4. Earl Grey – a blended black tea flavoured with bergamot oil, the quintessential afternoon tea brew…good with cake!
  5. Darjeeling FTGFOP – the leaf tips of Darjeeling producing a full-bodied taste reminiscent of Muscatel grapes.
  6. Moroccan Mint – peppermint leaves are mixed with green gunpowder tea which produces a lovely refreshing after dinner drink (great when there is so much rich food around at Christmas.)
  7. Countess Grey – a combination of orange pekoe tea with bergamot (I prefer this to traditional Earl Grey.)
  8. Liquorice, Mint & Lemon Verbena INFUSION! Tasted better than it sounded – which is good because it was duplicated on the 19th!
  9. Royal Blend – this traditional black tea from Ceylon and Assam was first blended for King Edward VII in 1902. It has a smooth honeyed flavour and is very palatable.
  10. Chai – a black tea, containing various herbs and spices – cinnamon, cumin, coriander, ginger, cloves, star anise and fennel. A soothing tea for the stomach which, like the mint tea, is good to have at this time of year.
  11. English Camomile INFUSION!
  12. A repeat of the Royal Blend.
  13. A repeat of the Rose Pouching.
  14. Apricot, Honey & Lavender INFUSION!
  15. Breakfast Blend – Assam tea from Brahmaputra Valley in NE India. It’s a robust, strong, malty brew and perfect for Breakfast as it name would suggest!
  16. A repeat of the Moroccan Mint.
  17. A repeat of the Earl Grey.
  18. Gunpowder – a green tea which resembles gunpowder pellets. The tea is very delicate and doesn’t actually contain any gunpowder!
  19. A repeat of the Liquorice INFUSION.
  20. A repeat of the Chai.
  21. Sour Cherry and Orange INFUSION!
  22. A repeat of Darjeeling FTGFOP
  23. Ruby Red Christmas INFUSION!
  24. Christmas Tea – well it had to be didn’t it?! A black tea which has been mixed with the taste and scent of Christmas; cocoa nibs, clementine and Christmas spices. It’s a smooth and slightly tea for Christmas Eve.



Over the 24 days of the festive period, there were in fact only 11 teas to sample in a “Tea Lover's Advent Calendar.” 

There were 6 infusions (one of which was duplicated) and 11 teas (6 of which were duplicated) at the cost of £25. Value for money? Not really. My stand out teas were the one’s I had not tried before; the Rose Pouchong which I now keep an eye out for if I go for an afternoon drink on a summer day; the Moroccan Mint (which has a much better punch than a traditional cup of peppermint “tea”) and the Royal Blend – something that can be pulled out for the more “traditional tea” drinker.

I rather hope the 2018 version contained more of a mix of products…but as the box was the same, I somehow doubt the contents miraculously changed into 24 unique teas to try!


2 comments:

  1. Yes I remember you saying the tea calendar was a bit of a swizz. You would think that with all the teas Fortnums stock they would have been able to field 24 different varieties for the calendar! That said,I too am a fan of the Countess Grey tea and I am very interested to try the Royal Blend seeing as Duchess Meghan took that as a gift to her hosts in Australia! Hx

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  2. Well exactly! That's what I was hoping for...to try something new behind each door and then go and buy some packets of the favourites. They have so many loose leaf teas to buy, surely a company such as theirs could have bagged them up for the calendar!!!!

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